Telemedicine service in Pune primary health centers
by V.Radhika, India Abroad News Service
Pune, May 3 - Those living in interior Pune villages will now be able to avail expert medical council well within their means, thanks to a unique telemedicine program.
The Pune district administration has teamed up with www.doctoranywhere.com and Tata Council for Community Initiatives (TCCI) to launch a telemedicine service from a government primary healthcare center (PHC).
The service, says the Chief Executive Officer of Pune district administration V. Radha, will reduce the traveling time and expenditure of the poor villagers.
The villagers rush to big cities to meet specialist doctors. Since their relatives often accompany the patients, the cost mounts up. The service launched at three primary health centers is targeted at the rural masses, Radha told IANS.
There are 88 PHC's in Pune district, each manning five to six sub-centers. The PHC's are manned by two doctors each and equipped with basic medical facilities, including operation theatres, laboratory and a pharmacy. The staff consists of 15 personnel who travel to the sub-centers to implement government programs on primary health, vaccinations, leprosy and AIDS.
The telemedicine project, she said, will ultimately connect all the PHC's in the district. In the first phase, three PHC's in Wagholi, Chakan and Paud regions would be linked with the district administration of Pune and the specialists.
"If we have the headquarters connected with these PHC's, we can respond immediately. If there is an emergency, we can at least rush medicines. There are at least five to six doctors always present at the headquarters who can respond even if there are no specialists."
As part of the project, a two-day training program was conducted recently for 12 doctors. According to Chetan Shetty of doctoranywhere.com, "These doctors along with the doctoranywhere team will train the key users of the computer and impart training about the software provided for telemedicine at each health center. A supervisor and nurse will also be trained," he told
IANS. He added that internet connectivity was not a problem in most districts of Maharashtra.
Suresh Ramu of doctoranywere.com said most PHC's were operational from the premises of the district administration run schools and most schools had computers that could be used to provide this service
Ten specialists (two each from each category) have been chosen from dermatology, nephrology, neurology, cardiology and gastroentrology. Doctors at the PHC's will refer complicated cases to the specialists in major cities who in turn will give their advice within 24 hours.
The TCCI has donated three Pentium computers for the pilot project. The district administration will provide computers to other PHC's.
The service will be started at the PHC's at Hole in Baramati tehsil, Otur in Junnar tehsil and Nirgudsar in Ambegaon tehsil within a month and in another 40 PHC's within a year, said Radha.
--India Abroad News Service
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